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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

££                            IfS  TSBATMENT   BY THE DELE!  1MPEBORS,
in¥asicm of Mahmud in 101? A.D. and the xeign of Akbar in the latter half
of the sixteenth century; and it is only foom the day when the Jats and
Mahrattas began to be the virtual sovereigns of the country that any continuous
series of monumental records exists.   -
Nor can this be wondered at, since whenever the unfortunate city did
attract the Emperor's notice, it became at once a mark for pillage and desecra-
tion : and the more religious the sovereign, the more thorough the persecution.
Take for example the following passage from the Tarikhri-D&iidi of Abdullah
{a writer in the reiga of Jahangir), who is speaking of Sultin. Sikandar Lodi
(1488__1516 A.D.), one of the most able and accomplished of all the occupants
of the Delhi throne : " He was so zealous a Musalman that he utterly destroyed
many places off worship of the infidels, and left not a single vestige remaining
of them. He entirely ruined the shrines of Mathura, that mine of heathen-
ism, and turned their principal temples into sardes and colleges. Their stone
images were given to the butchers to serve them as meat-weights, and all the
Hindus ia Matkura were strictly prohibited from shaving their heads and beards
and performing their ablutions. He thus put an end to all the idolatrous rites
of the infidels there ; and no Hindu, if he wished to have his head or beard
shaved, could get a barber to do it." In confirmation of the truth of this nar-
rative, it may be observed that when the Muhammadan Governor Abd-un-Nabi,
in 1661, built his great mosque as a first step towards the construction of the
new city, of which he is virtually the founder, the ground which he selected
for the purpose, and which was unquestionably an old temple site, had to be
purchased from the butchers.
During the glorious reign of Akbar, the one bright era in the dreary
annals of Imperial misrule, there was full toleration tit Mathura as in all other
parts of his dominions.    Of this an illustration is afforded by the following
incidents which is narrated- by Badauni:   Among the persons held in high
favour at the Court was a Shaikh, by name Abd-un-Nabi, who occupied the
distinguished position of Sadr-us-Saddr.   A complaint was made to him by
Kizi Abd-ur-Bahfm of Mathura that a wealthy Brahman had appropriated
some materials that had been collected for the building of a mosque, and not
only used them in the construction of a temple, but, when remonstrated with,
bad, in the presence of a crowd of people, foully abused the Prophet and aU
Ms followers.   The Brahman, when summoned to answer the charge, refused
io come ; whereupon Ab-ul-Fazl was sent to fetch him, and ou his return re-
ported that all the people of Mathuit agreed in declaring that the Brahman